Built to be repaired????

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Having heard on the news that even Apple have agreed they should offer their customers spare parts to repair their phones, I was reminded of how far we have come from the days when our cars were originally manufactured this week.

Over the last few months my overdrive has become a little lazy, and then very reluctant and finally determined not to disengage. Ouch my wallet and I thought…

A quick call to Eastern Chairman Dave Holman (and top club technical guru) and I was in the garage lifting the transmission tunnel carpet and releasing the 6 self-taping screws to lift off the transmission tunnel cover.

With the transmission cover off you have excellent access to the gearbox, overdrive and solenoid units.

Once removed, a quick test of the solenoid (a small electro-magnetic switch which operates the overdrive) proved the switch and solenoid where working. So, workshop manual in hand, it was a quick job to remove the solenoid and its plunger. Sliding the plunger up and down the brass sleeved solenoid immediately gave the tell-tale signs of wear and tear with a distinctly rough movement. If the plunger does not freely slide in the solenoid the overdrive mechanism becomes “sticky” and unreliable.

The solenoid has a brass sleeve that becomes clogged up and/or worn stopping the plunger from freely sliding inside and hence stopping the overdrive from disengaging when the solenoid switches off.

Now usually, I would be reaching for the keyboard to just order a new solenoid, discard the old and fit the shiny new piece. But on Dave’s advice before doing this I reached for the metal polish and ten minutes later had a very smooth solenoid and plunger interaction again! The brass sleeve and soft steel plunger where smooth and silky again. With the solenoid quickly refitted and the overdrive operating arm reset (as per the simple instructions in the manual) a test drive proved it was worth refitting all the removed parts. Success!

After the contentment of fixing my overdrive came the realisation that we, well at least me, have become used to diagnosing a fault, swapping an old part for new and feeling proud of resolving our issue. All modern cars, kitchen appliances, computers and gadgets follow this “throwaway” culture don’t they????? Are things really manufactured to be repaired today? Our Healey’s come from a bygone age when components COULD be repaired and refurbished. Next time you are on the verge of swapping out a component just question yourself. I feel all the better for it and, thanks to Dave, I have been reminded of another reason why I love my Healey – and why I joined the club!

An hour later and it was time for a celebratory drive along the coast…